Lee Conmigo! was born from the heartfelt dreams of two teachers from the public Montessori system in Puerto Rico. Juan Carlos Acevedo and Gianlee Márquez, both deeply passionate about promoting reading to children and furthering access to children's literature, realized through their work in the public school system the need that exists on the Island and the few access points that children and their families have to children's literature. Recognizing the urgency of making books accessible to kids and knowing about its benefits in the development of children, they sought to create spaces to provide this access to their students, so they began to invite them to read as a family on weekends at their school.
The need was so great that families began to invite more people to these activities and that initial space was soon too small for them. For this reason and in order to continue making reading accessible to families, they decided to incorporate what began as a community initiative as a Non-Profit Organization in May 2019, thus ¡Lee Conmigo! Inc. was born.
In Puerto Rico there is an urgent need for recreational, social, and safe spaces where families can enjoy the benefits of a community that provides diverse experiences for their children, and this was a need that ¡Lee Conmigo! had the capacity to fill. From the outset, the main focus of ¡Lee Conmigo! has been to promote a love for reading from an early age. In the beginning, they did it through reading encounters, these being held in recreational spaces that they created in parks, bookstores, and other locales; free of charge, they designed a space full of art, socialization, teamwork, family time, and above all reading which was promoted as a pleasant and fun activity.
With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-2021, face-to-face meetings could not be held, so the need arose to take the readings to a virtual platform through their Facebook page, in which weekly activities were carried out in which a sign language interpreter was included in each transmission. This platform led them to reach families in many more towns in Puerto Rico, but also in countries like the United States, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Spain, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Germany.
In 2020 Lee Conmigo! also had the opportunity to participate in the EnterPRize small business competition held by the Guayacán Foundation, and they were also the winners of the Sembrando Futuro award, which seeks to reward the team whose work has the greatest impact for the Puerto Rico of the future that we all long for.
The work and commitment to make children's literature accessible is a never ending task, and on October 30, 2022 they managed to inaugurate their first physical space, the ¡Lee Conmigo! Children's Library located on the ground floor of the San Patricio Plaza shopping center. The 2,200-square-foot space is made up of a large reading room, art area, puppets, a baby library, and more than 1,000 Children's Literature books. The ¡Lee Conmigo! Children's Library is the first library which specializes in early childhood in Puerto Rico, and from there families have access to books, they can borrow books through memberships, enjoy read aloud activities, birthday celebrations, educational workshops, and more.
Lee Conmigo! is a non-profit organization that seeks to cultivate a reading culture in Puerto Rico through wonderful and fun reading experiences for the whole family.